Can you remember back in the day, when you dialed in to get your “electronic” mail from AOL? Patiently waiting and trying to dial multiple numbers before finally making the connection? Personally, the sound of the computer buzzing away like it was making a cup of coffee heightened the anticipation of what awaited in my inbox. Back then there were not as many uses for a home computer than there are today, and some people struggled to understand why they needed to have this big bulky contraption on their desk. The idea of social media wasn’t even a glimmer on the horizon. Back then…a mere 15 years ago. Wow, does time fly!
We have gained so much in the world of computing and online engagement so quickly that sometimes we take it for granted. To think Facebook started in 2004, and is now the largest social media platform with over 800 million users! Almost one in ever seven people on the planet have a Facebook account. Crazy! It seems that technology is moving at the speed of light and if you don’t stay on top of it your business will be left in the dust.
Let’s look at some of the essential tools we use everyday that were not available to us a decade ago and how businesses are reaping the benefits:
Starting in August of 2006, Google Analytics began making an enormous impact in how we track and generate connections. So, why is it important to be using analytics programs? Analytics compiles market information about who is viewing your website, e-mail marketing, pay-per-click, and digital collateral; you can pick this information up and run with it. Instead of having to push hard marketing surveys about who is using your products and services, or where the markets are, analytics programs allow small and large firms alike to generate leads and look at who is landing on their sites. This allows them to either push to the right demographic or move the firm in the direction of their customers. Bottom line: more target marketing = less wasted ad dollars. Work smarter, not harder.
Analytics are so important these days that most social media and media aggregators use analytics to track traffic to and from online pages. A great example would be the social media use of a financial professional and his ability to engage his followers. If s/he posts a new blog about the recent stock market changes and receives a few comments, and a few days later decides to post an article about retirement planning and gets a dozen comments, s/he’s able to utilize analytics to see which post is getting the most traction. Furthermore, s/he can also track who is clicking on their posts and driving traffic to their website. Analytic tracking can be extremely beneficial to financial professionals with a digital footprint so that they can better monitor their social media efforts and determine what is giving them the most profitable return.
The revolution of mobile communication has been a game changer for marketing strategists. With the power of the internet in the palm of our hand, we now have the ability to follow our friends, clients, or favorite brands and businesses wherever we may be. Most of us do not sit in front of our computer 24 hours a day, and for those of us that are bonded to social media, being able to communicate from anywhere makes all the difference in the world. Almost all smart phones come preloaded with Facebook and Twitter applications it’s almost become hard to live without the ability to access your e-mail at your fingertips. More than 350 million active users currently access Facebook through their mobile devices. Clearly these applications have become more important then ever.
For financial professionals, this means that clients and prospects can talk about your seminar or client appreciation event instantly. Did you just host a Holiday Party? Now, with the touch of a button, they can tell their friends, which their friends can see, and so on and so forth. Mobile communication has severely increased the viral ability of offline and online communications, allowing financial professionals to stay actively engaged with their current and prospective clients.
It might seem obvious, but communication is key to developing a great social media strategy. Back in the day, if you wanted to sell something, you either went door to door, used direct mail, or you could cold call potential customers. Social media today has evolved the traditional marketing strategies into online interactions. If you have ever held a sales job then a sales funnel should sound familiar. Instead, think of a sales funnel as a social media funnel. You are online meeting people in social networks and in turn they are meeting you. The more people that you connect and communicate with, the more leads that you will generate.
For financial professionals, this means a much broader and open pool of leads to dip into. LinkedIn is a perfect example. As the top professional networking site, LinkedIn boasts over 100 million users. Here, people cultivate professional relationships that help better each other’s organizations and networks. LinkedIn groups allow financial professionals to seek out connections that are a part of a specific geographic location, work in a specific industry, take part in specific recreational activities, and could even be a part of a specific demographic. These niche audiences can not only be found on LinkedIn, but can also be found on other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. What better way for financial professionals to turn the tides of traditional marketing strategies and instead seek their clients out instead of relying on them.
These are just a few of the technologies that have come about in the past few years and have greatly enhances the way businesses and consumers connect. These three different revolutionary features make marketing or talking to potential customers faster, less expensive and easier on social media networks. Can you think of any others that from your experience have made your life a little easier?